Garden lighting

Solar lights come in all sizes and shapes.

There are new and exciting styles and fixtures for landscape solar lighting being introduced every year, expanding the effects you can get with them. It used to be that the only way to use them was to stick them in rows like lolly-pops. But there are now solar flood lights, spots, hanging and table lamps and even lights you can attach on the stem of an outdoor umbrella to up-light the inside of the fabric. As the demand for solar lighting grows in popularity, even these choices will continue to expand. Solar lights collect energy from daytime sun so these lights will have no impact on your electric bill. You can even bypass the issue of wires that can be broken or cut outdoors since the only bit of wiring required takes place inside the solar light fixture. That also means you can place your lights at any distance you want since you do not need an electrical outlet.

Although light capacity is increasing, solar lighting is still weaker than low volt lighting. It is best for creating glowing effects in the garden. One suggestion might be to follow a winding path with solar lights to draw a sinuous snake of light through your garden or up a slope or hill after dark. Another idea is to place solar lights behind sculptural plants to create a background glow. There are solar lamps that are fabricated to look like ordinary table lamps that are safer to use than candles. There are even some low volt and solar lights that mimic candles! Edge a garden or patio with solar lights, or consider lining an edging with a strip of LED tubing. Add solar lights in areas away from the house where you might want to see your footing at night. Wherever you use your lights, always position the solar collectors on top to get the maximum exposure to direct sun so you’ll store enough energy to last well into the night.

Most solar lamps still come in either a cool or warm hue. The cool, stark white color that looks best in a garden with a contemporary, nautical, or a stylistic feel. Some of the warmer yellow tints even border on orange. These blend in best with rustic, country, romantic or cottage type gardens.

Expect batteries to collect solar energy for two to four years before they start to dim and need replacing. The job is easily done and batteries can be found at some home stores, garden centers, electrical supply shops and online.

Add night lighting to your landscape and suddenly you will have magical views from both indoors and outdoors. Create different effects with different lighting and punch up focal points, target your favorite décor or make cooking, relaxing and entertaining out-of-doors safe, easy and attractive. Remember that lighting your property will also discourage unwanted visitors – human and wildlife alike. And keep in mind that you will walk safer after dark if you can see where you are putting your feet – especially where there are steps, stairs, level changes or protruding objects.

Lighting the garden makes outdoor living a real asset to your house. You will be able to use more square footage, help increase the value of your property and make your home a more beautiful and fun place to enjoy while riding out the housing market slump. There are so many ways to light up your landscape, so many tricks, fixtures, angles and possibilities that you might just as well light up your spirits and the whole ambiance of your garden at the same time. You can mix low voltage lights with LEDs and solar lights to invent a whole design of your own or call in a designer or lighting expert for suggestions. Then you can have your own outdoor garden party every night. Don’t miss out on all the possibilities you can create by lighting up your landscape at night.